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25 Apr

Beasts and Busts from Last Year's Draft

As the next element of the 2013 draft recap and reflection series, we evaluate the best players drafted and the biggest busts.  The 'best' list is a category of the players that immediately became NFL stars and proved to be worth their cost.  Busts are the players who failed to meet expectations in their first season. Follow this blog for all the latest!

BEST

1. LB Kiko Alonso (BUF)-Especially for being a second round selection, Alonso has proved himself to be the best pick from the 2013 draft.  The linebacker out of Oregon dominated in a variety of stats columns.  Spectacular draft pick.

2. RB Eddie Lacy (GB)-Unquestionably worth the 2nd round pick, Lacy has become the start of the Packers offense.  The star out of Alabama proved to be one of the best offensive players in the draft.

3. DT Star Lotulelei (CAR)-Fit perfectly into the defense from the start, and an absolute steal even in the first round.  The defensive tackle out of Utah proved to be a playmaker for the next several years.

4. C Travis Frederick (DAL)-Right from the start, Frederick became the starter and kept that position throughout the year.  The team will look for him to set the tone of the Dallas O-Line.

5. DT Sheldon Richardson (NYJ)-The defensive rookie of the year was a stud at defensive tackle and gave the Jets precisely what they looked for in their 1st rounder.  Amazing defender.

6. CB Desmond Trufant (ATL)-Trufant is a rare type of player who seems to need no transition into the league and plays consistently and nearly perfect during his rookie season.  This cornerback did just that and met all expectations.

7. LB Alec Ogletree (STL)-Drafted early in the second round, Ogletree did everything to perfection and played as a defensive stud.  St. Louis' defense was practically led by the young star who will complement James Laurinitis as the two tacklers annihilate opposing teams.

8. S Kenny Vacarro (NO)-New Orleans spent a first-round pick on the safety who became an instant starter and was consistent enough to guide the Saints to a top-5 D.  Vacarro will be the best safety in the division within the next season or two.

9. CB Xavier Rhodes (MIN)-Like most rookies in the position, Rhodes took a bit of time to transition but once he did, he became the best Vikes coverage man and proved to be worth the second of three first-round picks.

10. S Tyrann Mathieu (ARI)-Mathieu's work ethic and determination guided him in his journey to work his way up to a starting role as a safety.  Arizona received a star in exchange for a 3rd round draft pick.

11. WR Kenny Stills (NO)-After this season, Stills will be at the top of a list like this but his first season showed loads of potential.  That potential will evolve into production from the 5th rounder who will be targeted by Brees over and over this season.

12. CB Johnathan Banks (TB)-Arguably should be higher, but Banks had early season struggles before breaking into an elite performer later in the season.  2nd round pick well spent.

13. OT DJ Fluker (SD)-Fluker will be acknowledged more in 2014 as people start to notice the Chargers' O-Line appearing impenetrable.  The 1st rounder out of Alabama has a bright future with San Diego.

14. RG Larry Warford (DET)-Warford proved to be potentially the best 3rd round pick and quickly established himself as a long-term starter for Detroit.  He was voted best right guard in the NFC North, saying a lot as a rookie.

15. CB Logan Ryan (NE)-His five INTs led the Patriots secondary, which is remarkable when a guy like Aqib Talib is on the same field.  Strong defender who started 6 games and will continue to shine as he sees more action.

BUSTS

1. TE Tyler Eiffert (CIN)-The Bengals coughed up a first round selection for a guy who barely managed two TDs as a rookie.  It still may be early, but Eiffert struggled with other parts of the game and will need to get on track quick to save his future.

2. DE Dion Jordan (MIA)-For everything Miami did to acquire him-trading picks with Oakland, giving up multiple later picks, using the 3rd overall pick on him, etc...-the player was a major letdown.  To make it worse, Jordan only played on passing downs.  Major disappointment.

3. LB Barkevius Mingo (CLE)-Mingo may have a plan to improve his play before the next season starts, but overall he was still a bust last season.  Cleveland's high-expectation outside linebacker failed to generate in the forms of QB pressure and sacks, which was the one main desire of the Browns defense.  Don't count him out yet, but he did not produce in year one.

4. CB Jamar Taylor (MIA)-Taylor had some fairly-high hopes going into the season but, like virtually all of the Dolphins' picks last year, was a major letdown.  Having only 3 tackles all season long, the Boise State 2nd round choice was absent from the active roster by coaching decision for half of the regular season games.

5. LB Jarvis Jones (PIT)-While he held down the linebacker fort exceptionally at times in his rookie season and played consistently, Jones failed to live up to the reputation of being a playmaker.  This may not make him a total bust, but a playmaker is really what the Steelers needed and tried to find in the 1st round bust.

6. CB B.W. Webb (DAL)-Expected to be good enough for a starting coverage spot, Webb failed to come through even in special teams.  This letdown led to Dallas having the worst defense versus the pass in the team's history.

7. QB Mike Glennon (TB)-Even as a 3rd round pick, the quarterback did not reach any level of success in his first season.  It might have been his last chance to start in the league.  Wasted pick.

8. TE Gavin Escobar (DAL)-Chosen in the second round, Escobar didn't make a dent in the Dallas passing game.  There is still hope for the former San Diego State pass-catcher to deliver in the NFL, but this guy was disappointing in his rookie debut.

9. WR Justin Hunter (TEN)-Hunter was a rocky player in his rookie year.  The 2nd round pick out of Tennessee struggled with consistency and was suspended a game as well.  Just not the player the Titans had searched for.

10. Mike Gillislee (MIA)-The Florida native failed to even make special teams, which caused him to settle onto the bench where he could socialize with all of the other Dolphins draft busts.


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